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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Fall Guy

Meet the Fall Guy for President Obumbler's failed Middle East peace efforts.
Peacemaking takes strategic skill. But we see no sign that President Obama and Mr. Mitchell were thinking more than one move down the board. The president went public with his demand for a full freeze on settlements before securing Israel’s commitment. And he and his aides apparently had no plan for what they would do if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said no.

Most important, they allowed the controversy to obscure the real goal: nudging Israel and the Palestinians into peace talks. (We don’t know exactly what happened but we are told that Mr. Obama relied more on the judgment of his political advisers — specifically his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel — than of his Mideast specialists.)
Yeah, that must be it. Obama decided that since Emanuel was an Israeli, he must know better how to pressure Israelis than those Middle East peace experts.
All this raises two questions: What has President Obama learned from the experience so he can improve his diplomatic performance generally? And does he plan to revive the peace talks?
Answers: Not much and who cares. Obama walked into a situation where the two parties had been involved in intense negotiations for more than a year, toward the end of which Abu Mazen had turned down the best offer he is likely to see in this lifetime because he was convinced Obama would get him a better deal. Obama should have put the 'Middle East peace process' on the back burner, let Abu Mazen stew in his own juices, and moved on to solvable issues. Instead, he decided to surprise Netanyahu by putting the squeeze on him.

No one in this country trusts Obama. And no one ever will.


At 2:46 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Why does Rahm Emanuel remind me so much of Mini Me?

'No one in this country trusts Obama. And no one ever will.'

Oh, if that were only true here, especially within the Jewish community. After nearly a year under The One, you would think that they would wake up. I hate to think what that might take.

At 2:55 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The freeze was meant to show America's Israel's goodwill and to keep the Labor Party in the government. It only secondarily addressed the Palestinians, whom no one in Israel expects to take up negotiations in the foreseeable future.

The American settlement demand, ironically enough, doomed the very negotiations it had sought to encourage. It was the Obama Administration's first major foreign policy miscalculation. Will it learn anything from it?

One doubts it really understands the complexities or challenges of the Middle East.

At 4:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


you dont live in america, so i will forgive your ignorance, but one of the things obama ran on was that he was going to be involved in the middle east peace process from day one of his administration

do i thinke he shouldve spent as much time in analysis as he has on afghanistan? absolutely

but dont say he shouldve put the whole thing on the backburner

and i think you are wrong...he has indeed learned from the experience

and you are right...rahm is the fall guy...he was basically set up to be when he was chosen as chief of staff...and that does scare me a bit


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